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Hope In Suffering

When I opened my Bible to read Jeremiah 1 through 4, the subhead ascribed to the book startled me: “Hope in Time of Weeping.” I almost cried. The timing was perfect, as I was walking through a season of weeping over the death of my mom.

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Outlasting Bitterness

During the Second World War, Corrie ten Boom’s family owned a watchmaking business in the Netherlands, and they actively worked to protect Jewish families. Eventually, the entire ten Boom family was sent to a concentration camp, where Corrie’s father died 10 days later. Her sister Betsie also died in the camp. While Betsie and Corrie were in the camp together, Betsie’s faith helped to strengthen Corrie’s.

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The Warmth Of The Sun

On a November day in 1963, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote a song quite unlike the band’s typically upbeat tunes. It was a mournful song about love that’s been lost. Mike said later, “As hard as that kind of loss is, the one good that comes from it is having had the experience of being in love in the first place.” They titled it “The Warmth of the Sun.”

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Dealing With Distractions

A restaurant owner in the village of Abu Ghosh, just outside Jerusalem, offered a 50-percent discount for patrons who turned off their cell phones. Jawdat Ibrahim believes that smartphones have shifted the focus of meals from companionship and conversation to surfing, texting, and business calls. “Technology is very good,” Ibrahim says. “But . . . when you are with your family and your friends, you can just wait for half an hour and enjoy the food and enjoy the company.”

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Can You Help?

The administrators of the high school in Barrow, Alaska, were tired of seeing students get into trouble and drop out at a rate of 50 percent. To keep students interested, they started a football team, which offered them a chance to develop personal skills, teamwork, and learn life lessons. The problem with football in Barrow, which is farther north than Iceland, is that it’s hard to plant a grass field. So they competed on a gravel and dirt field.

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Goodbye

When Max Lucado participated in a half-Ironman triathlon, he experienced the negative power of complaint. He said, “After the 1.2-mile swim and the 56-mile bike ride, I didn’t have much energy left for the 13.1-mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. He said, ‘This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I’ve ever made.’ I said, ‘Goodbye.’” Max knew that if he listened too long, he would start agreeing with him. So he said goodbye and kept running.

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Rooted Love

When I think of all the wonders of God’s magnificent creation, I am especially awed by the giant sequoia tree. These amazing behemoths of the forest can grow to around 300 feet tall with a diameter that exceeds 20 feet. They can live over 3,000 years and are even fire resistant. In fact, forest fires pop the sequoia cones open, distributing their seeds on the forest floor that has been fertilized by the ashes. Perhaps the most amazing fact is that these trees can grow in just 3 feet of soil and withstand high winds. Their strength lies in the fact that their roots intertwine with other sequoias, providing mutual strength and shared resources.

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Defeated Adversary

The roaring lion is the legendary “king of the jungle.” But the only lions many of us see are the lethargic felines that reside in zoos. Their days are filled with lots of rest, and their dinner is served to them without the lions having to lift a single paw.

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Amazing Guide

When actors and actresses make a movie, it’s the director who sees the “big picture” and the overall direction. Actress Marion Cotillard admits she didn’t understand everything the director was doing in one of her recent films. She said, “I found it very interesting to allow myself to be lost, because I knew that I had this amazing guide. . . . You abandon yourself for a story and a director that will make it all work.”

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Windfall

Upon winning $314 million in a 2002 lottery, a happy business owner expressed noble desires. He wanted to start a charitable foundation, put laid-off workers back on the job, and do nice things for his family. Already wealthy, he told reporters the big win wouldn’t change him.

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Heartbreak And Hope

When American country singer George Jones died at the age of 81, his fans remembered his remarkable voice and his hard life and personal struggles. While many of his songs reflected his own despair and longing, it was the way he sang them that touched people deeply. Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot said, “His voice was made for conveying heartbreak.”

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Creeping Christmas?

I love Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ and the beauty and wonder of the season make it “the most wonderful time of the year” for me. In recent years, however, the season has been accompanied by a growing irritation. Every year “Christmas stuff” comes out earlier and earlier—creeping all the way back to early fall.

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The Final Picture

What started as an empty 11-acre field in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended up as the largest land portrait in the British Isles. Wish, by artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, is made from 30,000 wooden pegs, 2,000 tons of soil, 2,000 tons of sand, and miscellaneous items such as grass, stones, and string.

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The Drinking Gourd

Prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865), fugitive slaves found freedom by following the Underground Railroad, a term for the secret routes from the South to the North and the abolitionists who helped them along the way. Slaves would travel at night for many miles, keeping on track by following the light of the “Drinking Gourd.” This was a code name for the collection of stars known as the Big Dipper, which points to the North Star. Some believe the fugitives also used encoded directions in the lyrics of the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” to keep them from getting lost as they traveled.

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The Honor Of Following

While visiting Jerusalem, a friend of mine saw an old rabbi walking past the Wailing Wall. The interesting thing about the aged rabbi was the five young men walking behind him. They too were walking bent over, limping—just like their rabbi. An Orthodox Jew watching them would know exactly why they were imitating their teacher. They were “followers.”

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Tear Down The Wall

The years following World War II were labeled the Cold War as nations exchanged threats and jockeyed for power. The Berlin Wall, built in August 1961, stood for almost 3 decades as one of the most powerful symbols of the smoldering animosity. Then, on November 9, 1989, it was announced that citizens could cross freely from East to West Berlin. The entire wall was demolished the following year.

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Oranges Or Milk?

When I told my young daughter that a 3-month-old baby boy was coming to our house for a visit, she was delighted. With a child’s sense of hospitality, she suggested that we share some of our food with the baby; she thought he might enjoy a juicy orange from the bowl on our kitchen counter. I explained that the baby could drink only milk, but that he might like oranges when he was older.

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Multiply It

Amy had battled cancer for 5 years. Then the doctor told her that the treatments were failing and she had just a few weeks to live. Wanting some understanding and assurance about eternity, Amy asked her pastor, “What will heaven be like?”

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Horse Power

Think for a moment of the power, beauty, and majesty of a galloping horse—his head held high, his mane flying in the wind, and his legs working in unison to provide speed, power, and abandon.

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Less Than The Least

Unlike those who think highly of themselves, Jacob knew that he had been ruined by sin (Gen. 32:10). He thought himself a man unworthy of God’s grace. He had cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright (ch.27), and his brother hated him for it. Now, years later, Jacob was going to face Esau again.

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42 thoughts on “Less Than The Least

  1. shelli says:

    Yes, *pfiifiyankson…I too, miss *doctor-perspective’s comments & ‘perspectives’ on the devotionals. He brought a sense of reading-between-the-lines depth to Scripture Verses that I hadn’t gotten elsewhere & were like a mini-Bible Study in and of itself. I have Bible Study classes every Wednesday evening & his comments/lessons have gotten me to really go deep within the particular passage to get a clearer understanding of it. I know from his last post that he won’t be leaving comments everyday anymore, but he’ll continue to read the comments daily & leave one now and then. But I really do miss my routine of reading the day’s ODB & then his comment right after.
    God Bless you & keep you~

  2. beaverdam252 says:

    This devotional speaks very loudly. It’s a wonderful message to us, and the prayer at the end is one of my favorites.

  3. pfiifiyankson says:

    Where’s Dr Perspective? I miss your comments

    1. petern says:

      Read past devotionals of the same book and chapter. They are very comforting.

    2. hsnpoor says:

      pfiifiyankson,

      Doc P explains his absence in comments dated 10/29/14

  4. nanxi says:

    psalm 103 sums up so well. We should all be like the Lord by being slow to anger and rich in love.

  5. js1985 says:

    Today’s devotional answers my question about earlier this year when i was finally able to conquer a crippling addiction that was causing me to constantly sin, my question was, why was it so easy to finally conquer it this time, when other times i had failed?

    Just days before I was able to physically destroy and mentally destroy what was really destroying me, I literally had cried out to the lord in my prayer for strength to end the sin and mercy if I wasn’t able to end it before my time comes to leave this world.

    I always hated the sin i was committing but my complacency had blinded me to how much it was hurting the Lord. After returning to the Lord’s word it was only 2 days later i was determined to end my sin, but I didn’t believe I had the strength to do so. I hated the sin but i couldn’t bare the physical and mental withdrawals that came when i tried to end it. After meditation over the Easter weekend I cried out to the Lord and my level of hate for the sin itself was at an apex.

    I prayed that I knew i had to destroy my dependency but i didn’t know when i would have the strength to do so. Only a week later i was able to do what i thought i was too weak to do. I was able to destroy the sin that had a hold over me for over a decade. The Lord had heard my prayers, heard my tears and felt my hate and disdain for that sin. He saw i was ready and gave me not only the strength to get rid of what was causing my sin, but give me the serenity to carry on months later with no desire at all to go back.

    Thanks to today’s devotional I now know why this time was the time it finally worked. Today’s devotional also arms myself with the tools to save others and let them know not only that God forgives their sins, but he will give them the strength they need to conquer those habits and never look back.

    May the lord bless you and help you all in your journeys.

    1. js1985 says:

      I just want to add that i still struggle with other sins everyday. I hope that they are small and less hurtful that the one i conquered this year, but that is not up to me to say. Today’s devotional gives me hope that i can eliminate all sin and especially the repeated sins that hurt our Lord even more.

      I am still a sinner, but I have hope knowing i have the Lord’s forgiveness and one day the strength to conquer all sins, be they small or large, damaging to just myself or to others as well.

      Praise the Lord for the forgiveness of sin.

    2. lporcho says:

      Thank you for your comments. I am currently going through the exact same thing. Our situations are almost identical

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